Editor: The unprecedented vote of black voters in Louisiana coupled with the vote of national, concerned and thoughtful white Louisianians prevented David Duke, a peripatetic, unctuous, meretricious peddler of hate and racial-religious divisiveness, from winning the gubernatorial election in Louisiana. The most distressing and disturbing aspect of the election was that a majority of white voters in Louisiana cast their ballots for David Duke, notwithstanding his racist and neo-Nazi proclivities. Their vote represented a painful transmogrification of the fundamental principles of liberty and socioeconomic justice for all.
The historical truth is that it was the remarkable coalition and solidarity of black churches, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and black sororities, fraternities, institutions of higher education and civic groups, casting 96 percent of their vote for Edwin Edwards which saved Louisiana from national disgrace. A grand huzzah to the black voters of Louisiana who, in spite of onerous and heavy societal burdens, refused to go fishing on election day.
The black vote in the Louisiana election shows the power of the ballot. The ballot, to be sure, is a sure route to socio-economic, educational and political empowerment.
Samuel L. Banks. Baltimore.
Editor: David Duke. What a character.
It's bad enough someone like this is part of the Louisiana legislature. Someone with his background running for governor is frightening. It's even more frightening that it took a run-off election to defeat him.
A record number of Lousiana registered voters turned out for their election on Nov. 16. The people of Louisiana should be congratulated for such a high turnout. They proved that participation in the voting process does make a difference in the outcome of an election. This proves that our democracy does work.
It is shameful that it takes an undesirable candidate to draw people out to the polls, especially when the main reason most people voted was to cast a vote against that person. It's even more shameful when the person they do vote for is the "lesser of two evils."
What ever happened to "good, qualified people" running for public office? Is public service dying as a profession? Let's hope not.
The whole point of democracy is to get involved. Let us remember that we have a system that is operated by the people, for the people.
Without voter participation our system of government will not produce the results we as a people want. It is only through the ballot box that we can make a difference.
Richard L. Bolgiano. Towson.
Hypocrites and Gun Control
Editor: Walking through an area mall, my friends and I were talking about the hunting season for deer. A woman behind us decided that she would butt into our conversation.
She told us we were murderers and rednecks and that we had no right to kill these poor, innocent animals. Her last statement was that no one should be allowed to have guns of any kind. I
then asked the woman what she had for lunch. She said she had eaten a hamburger.
What really gets on my nerves are these hypocrites who preach about animal rights and then eat meat themselves.
As for guns and gun control, I and persons like me have the right to own any weapon we wish as long as it is within the parameters of the law and the constitution.
% Thomas G. Atkins. Dundalk.
Editor: Why has the state deficit become a political hot potato that none of our legislators wants to touch?
Why has balancing the budget been put on the backs of state workers and the welfare recipients?
No one of course wants the sales tax increased, but this would be a fair and equitable solution and would affect everyone in the state, rich and poor alike. Many other states that did not have a personal state income tax now do.
But no, our legislators do not want increased taxes because we have an election year coming up.
The president and governor are only allowed to run for two terms, but our legislators can run forever. Why? Because they would have to vote for their own limited terms and, of course, they will not do that.
! Lynn Bechtel.
Editor: Recently I had the pleasure of a three-day visit to your fine city, the first in many years. I would like to compliment your mayor and city planners for the excellent revitalization that has .. been accomplished and is presently going on.
I am handicapped and use an electric three-wheel vehicle. With the help of the thoughtfully provided curb cuts and ramps, I was able to visit the aquarium, the harbor tour and the many restaurants and shops of the Inner Harbor as well as the Mount Vernon and Fells Point areas.
Finally, I would like to express my appreciation for the kindness and hospitality extended to me. Total strangers were quick to offer unsolicited help if they thought I might need some assistance.
As you gather, I have become a fan of Baltimore.
'Anthony J. Denning.
Editor: Your articles on student absenteeism in Maryland's public schools (Nov. 15) provided insight about the extent and nature of the problem. The articles were short, however, on new ideas for reducing absenteeism.
Raising academic standards by imposing higher credit or course requirements will, by itself, only exacerbate absenteeism and its twin problem, dropping out. Informing students and their parents about the benefits of education is necessary but will not suffice to solve the problem.
Employers of young people can, however, make significant contributions to reducing absenteeism. Employers of high school students who work part-time (two-thirds of all 12th graders) could reward student employees with wage bonuses for good grades and regular school attendance.
Employers of high school graduates could request to see, during job interviews, school records for attendance, courses and grades. Currently they often do not make that request. By using academic criteria for hiring decisions, employers would send a signal back to high schools and increase student motivation to invest in education.
vTC High school curriculum reforms should recognize that some students, especially those who intend to enter the full-time job market following graduation, would learn better by experiencing a combination of classroom and workplace instruction.
We should develop apprenticeships that begin in high school and articulate with community and four-year colleges. Besides learning better, apprentices would relate to adult mentors and -- more quickly become productive members of the work force.
' Philip Favero. College Park.
The writer is co-director of the Center for Innovation at the University of Maryland.
She'd Pay More
Editor: Maryland badly needs more revenue. The way to raise revenue is through taxes. The income tax is the most fair of all taxes. Why then doesn't the General Assembly raise the income tax?
It is by now a truism that under Presidents Reagan and Bush the rich have become richer and the poor poorer. While we cannot expect any help on the federal level, in Maryland we can surely try to correct the balance. Those who made money at the expense of the poor can surely start giving some of it back.
I, for one, will be glad to pay a higher income tax if it means helping the homeless and the hungry, reopening libraries, improving education and saving the bay. I suspect many people feel the same way.
%Adelaide C. Rackemann. Baltimore.
A Myth Tumbles
Editor: What is that sound I hear? Is it the loudly touted myth that somehow private firms can do what public employees cannot? I'm referring, of course, to the Charles Hickey Jr. school in Baltimore County.
I've watched the changes at Hickey with great interest. I am a public school teacher who has read and heard so many times that private schools do better and more cost-effective the same job I do. Could the Hickey school be a parallel to my situation? Maybe, just maybe, the private sector could do no better with the population we serve in the same facilities we use.
Lynda Walker. Fallston.
Editor: It is ironic that in his Oct. 28 letter, "Deaf Children and Hearing," Moise Goldstein is guilty of the same type of distortion of which he accuses Dr. Bruce Gantz.
Commenting on an Oct. 1 front-page article, Mr. Goldstein castigates Dr. Gantz for showing a videotape of a "star" implanted pupil rather than one more "typical," stating that doing so would have made a ". . . far less positive impression."
It is surprising then to see Mr. Goldstein use the same ploy when he cites the high achievement of deaf children of deaf parents (the "stars" of the proponents of sign language for all children). He neglects to mention that over 30 years of intensive effort have not brought similar results with deaf children of hearing parents, who constitute 90 percent of all deaf children.
Mr. Goldstein also asserts that sign language is the only language that congenitally or early deaf children can learn at a natural pace. Absolutely no scientific evidence exists to support this claim. Moreover, there is substantial research which documents the high achievement levels of deaf children educated in quality programs which emphasize the acquisition of spoken English.
Mr. Goldstein concludes by labeling cochlear implants "highly experimental." This contradicts the position of the Food and Drug Administration (for which he is a consultant), which approved the cochlear implant for general use in children in the summer of 1990.
Certainly parents of deaf children should be cautions about proceeding with any elective surgery. But the evidence is rapidly mounting that cochlear implants are bringing usable speech information to deaf children and giving many their first hope of hearing.
' Patrick Stone. Washington.
The writer is president-elect of the Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf.